Saturday, 9 July 2011

What's in a pig?

Actually, what's in a half a pig, but you could double it to get a whole one.

Yesterday we collected our first half a pig.

First up, the pig price saga- I spent ages researching prices and sources. I had been told that a half pig should not be much more than £80, but I wanted one that was free range, so knew it would be more expensive.

Prices seemed to be around the £140 mark so when I was offered £2.20 a kilo for free range organic I double checked the price and placed my order (that would be about £66 for a half). I should have triple checked, because I got a phone call saying that the price was wrong and it should be £4.20 a kilo, they did say I could cancel the order. Since I am having a whinge I will not name the supplier, following the if you can't say something nice don't say anything rule. Actually they were very nice and butchered to order, just confused the prices.

I ummed and ahhed, it was more than I wanted to pay but was pig with excellent provenance. I looked for other sources and even tried to work out what the closest equivalent in supermarket prices would be. In the end we went for it, figuring we live and learn and depending how tasty it is we can look for a different source next time.

It looks like this:

Obviously what you get depends on what you order. I asked for:
  • a female half pig- to do with hormones and meat flavour
  • no head- no room/time to deal with it, don't like brawn
  • no trotters- no dog, don't fancy eating them myself
  • no offal- just don't like it
  • about half the belly skinned and cut into chunks so I can make sausages
  • joints sized for 5-6 people 
The biggest problem with researching was that I couldn't find out how much of what cut to expect which made it hard to work out values, so on arrival we weighed each bit and noted it down, weights include the packaging.

Joints, mix of shoulder and leg, can't tell which is which- 13.7kg, 7 joints
Belly cut into strips- 2.41kg, 16 big strips
Belly skinned and diced- 3.8kg
Chops- 5.47kg, 20 chops
Chunk of back fat, forgot to weigh this

I was also offered the bones but turned them down this time.

The meat looks excellent, not too fatty. It has been rewrapped (the clingfilm was rather leaky) and frozen apart from the meat for sausages and a joint for Sunday so I can report back on flavour soon.

Today is going to be spent making sausages, once I know how many I get I will work out what it would all cost to buy individually and see if it has been good value after all.

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